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Hashtag Survival: Subgenres

An eternal work in progress.

Table of Contents

Welcome to our guide on the subgenres of survival games! We've taken the time to come up with these definitions to help you better understand the different types of survival games out there. By breaking down the subgenres, we hope to make it easier for you to find the game that best suits your preferences and playstyle. Feedback and input are always welcome, so hit the comments or participate in the discussion via our Discord. 1

Narrative Survival

These titles often tie in progression with the story. New crafting recipes & tools may be rewarded by following the narrative, and at other times the narrative is central to the gameplay.

Lifestyle Survival

Typically, it focuses on life simulation in a specific period or place or as a particular person. They may have mechanics that feature in traditional survival games but are typically more about the general management of day-to-day life. While similar to Society Survival games, a key difference is that the player remains a firsthand and critical component of the gameplay instead of an external force.

Settlement Survival

Typically, it involves managing a group – varied in size- rebuilding their society after a catastrophe or building a new life while exploring new territories. Frequently involves societal aspects (religion, trade, morale) along with foundational survival elements like food, water, supplies, etc.

Survival Horror

Primarily involves the player’s struggle to survive against a dangerous external threat. They may include tasks for the player to complete while trying to avoid death but do not require your typical survival game upkeep.

Nominal Survival

We jokingly label it as ‘survival in the eye of the beholder.’ They are often referred to as mini MMOs or pseudo RPGs by many in our community. We’re never quite sure why they’re labeled Survival beyond the token appearance of food, crafting, or building- traits shared by other games.

Bushcraft Survival

Emphasize the ability to survive & thrive in a natural environment – or an environment upended by a disaster or emergency. There’s a reliance on specific skills like food & water sourcing, shelter building, fire-craft, camp craft, navigation, and weapon & tool making. There is friction & consequence to every action, and a player’s comfortable situation can be reversed instantly.

Survival Shooter

Combat, as gunplay, is a large part of the game and frequently includes conflict with other players. Survival genre elements can be present- base building, food acquisition, injury system- but may be tuned down so that their relevance only matters when impacting combat. (Raiding bases, being too weak or injured to fight, etc.)

Survival Craft

These games meet the survival criteria on paper, with various survival mechanics set typically in a lush and open-world environment. However, dangerous situations fall flat, while consequences & restrictions never feel impactful.

  1. These subgenres (in name and application) aren’t “official.”
    You won’t find them on platforms like Steam or other gaming-focused websites. They result from many hours of debate and discussion among Hashtag staff and community members about how to describe & categorize the different titles under the umbrella term “survival.”

    This post was rehomed from our secondary website directory.